Wires

BP's partners may sell out of joint TNK-BP venture -FT

LONDON, Oct 9 (Reuters) - BP's billionaire partnersin TNK-BP , Russia's third-biggest oil producer, saidthey could sell or list their 50 percent stake in the business,plunging the venture's plans into further confusion, theFinancial Times reported on Tuesday.

The British oil giant has also put its 50 percent stake inTNK-BP, estimated to be worth $25 billion, on the block and iscurrently negotiating both with its partners, grouped togetherin a consortium known as AAR, and with state-controlled Rosneft.

AAR, with which BP has had a long history of disputes, isplanning to table a cash offer by an Oct. 17 deadline.

But AAR notified BP on Monday that they could sell their ownshares to a third party or dispose of them through an initialpublic offering. The FT quoted a BP spokesman as saying thecompany would continue the process of selling its stake,regardless of the AAR move.

The newspaper cited a person close to AAR as saying that byannouncing their intention to sell, the oligarchs wanted to haveas many options as possible if Rosneft acquires BP's stake.

"From our perspective we become a financial investor in this

without any liquidity," the FT cited the person assaying.

The person also said it was important to prepare TNK-BP fora listing while BP is still a shareholder, according to the FT.

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

((stephen.mangan@thomsonreuters.com)(+44 0 20 7542 7931))

Keywords: BP TNKBP/